Japan & South Korea in Focus

24 Days
Tokyo to Seoul
From (AUD)
$ 25,680
$ 25,180
Dates & Pricing

2021/2022 Tokyo > Seoul

From Kimonos to Hanboks

From interacting with a real life geisha to meeting an industrial robot, Japan is a delightful rollercoaster ride. While South Korea, with its heavily guarded DMZ and peaceful temple retreats, is a wondrous paradox.
Begin your exploration in the land of the rising sun by preparing authentic sushi with your own hands, dining at a ninja-themed restaurant and washing it all down with sake. Dodge the crowds at the busiest intersection in the world and release an origami crane. As your journey carries you to South Korea, you will be amazed at the various intricacies that set it apart from its neighbours. On your journey through the fascinating land, you will ride its high-speed trains, admire the old-fashioned hanok houses, don the traditional Hanbok and experience the tranquility of a slow city.
Tour Map
Tour Code:
JPSK
Duration:
24 days
Departure City:
Tokyo
Return City:
Seoul

Selected Itinerary

24 Day Itinerary

  1. Day 1 - Tokyo

    Welcome to Tokyo, Japan's capital and the world's most populous metropolis. Check-into your hotel, your home for the next three nights. Rooms overlook the most picturesque sites in Tokyo, such as the Imperial Palace, the 500-year old Hie Jinja Shrine and beautiful landscaped Japanese gardens. This evening meet for your welcome reception and dinner.

    Meals Included: Dinner

  2. Day 2 - Tokyo

    Begin the day in the beautiful Imperial Palace’s East Gardens, part of the inner palace area and the former site of Edo Castle’s innermost circles of defence when the Tokugawa shogun ruled Japan from 1603 to 1867. Then in Ginza, dress up in your chefs clothes to make your own sushi lunch with the help of a local chef. Afterwards visit the epicentre of Tokyo’s teenage youth as you wander along Takeshita Street Harajuku, known for its colourful street art, youth fashion, quirky vintage clothing and cosplay stores and dessert shops and carts that specialise in sweet crêpes, donuts, and bubble tea.

    Freechoice Dining

    Choose from dining at a ninja themed restaurant or culturally immerse yourself in the traditional Japanese evening Izakaya bar scene serving Yaki-tori and Kushiyaki with your Tour Director as they show you their favourite places to go.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  3. Day 3 - Tokyo

    Visit the Asakusa district, known as the centre of Tokyo’s shitamachi or ‘low city’ capsulizing the atmosphere of Tokyo’s past, paying your respects at Sensoji temple, the city’s oldest Buddhist temple.

    Freechoice

    Visit the Imperial Shinto Meiji Shrine, before walking across the often-referred to as ‘the world’s busiest pedestrian crossing’ and seeing the famous Hachiko dog statue in Shibuya. Alternatively, wander through picturesque Shinjuku-Gyoen Gardens before witnessing the Shinjuku entertainment district come alive at dusk where you can choose to stay into the night.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

  4. Day 4 - Tokyo > Five Lakes > Hakone

    Venture deep into the stunning scenery of Kawaguchiko Area. Discover the craftsmanship involved in creating kimonos during the Muromachi Period (1333-1573) at the Itchiku Kubota Art Museum. Near Hakone, cruise on Lake Ashinoko on the First class deck of your pirate ship with Mt Fuji as a backdrop, then admire the stunning scenery during your cable car ride up the hot springs of the Owakudani geothermal area. Enjoy a Special Stay at your hotel overlooking Lake Ashinoko.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  5. Day 5 - Hakone > Kyoto

    Relax in your Green (Business) Class seats on the Shinkansen train to the culturally rich city of Kyoto, home to many World Heritage-listed sites. Walk through the impressive Nijo Castle, built in 1603 as the Kyoto residence of Tokugawa Ieyasu, the first shogun of the Edo Period (1603-1867). Settle into your hotel for the next four nights. Tonight enjoy Teppanyaki at the hotel’s Himorogi Restaurant.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  6. Day 6 - Kyoto

    Begin the day at the famous Kinkaku-ji or Golden Pavilion.  Afterwards, glide through the surreal Arashiyama Bamboo Grove by traditional rickshaw before exploring and enjoying a vegetarian meal at the World Heritage listed Tenryu-ji Temple. This evening stroll through the Gion area before dinner.

    Freechoice Dining

    Enjoy the option of dining at Fortune Garden or traditional Kaiseki at Gion Sekiya located in the famous Gion District.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  7. Day 7 - Kyoto

    Freechoice

    Revel in the atmosphere of the ancient preservation districts or visit the Silver Pavilion before strolling along part of the famous Philosopher’s Walk, an approximately two kilometre long, beautiful stone path walk along a canal through the northern part of Kyoto's Higashiyama district.

    Enrich

    Partake in a Japanese tea ceremony while dressed in a traditional Japanese kimono, a great photo opportunity.

    This afternoon enjoy some free time in Nishiki Market for shopping or relaxation.

    Enrich

    Tonight’s dinner will allow you to interact with a Geiko and Maiko who’ll host your meal presentation in a nearby traditional Japanese Restaurant. It’s an excellent opportunity to learn about what is involved in becoming a Geisha and the art of Japanese hospitality.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

  8. Day 8 - Kyoto > Nara

    Begin your day with an early visit to Fushimi Inari Shrine, famous for its thousands of vermilion torii gates and its appearance in the film ‘Memoirs of a Geisha’. Then continue to Nara, where you’ll visit Todaiji Temple, one of the most historically influential temples in Japan and see deer in Nara Park. Later, stop for a sake tasting at a sake museum.

     Ryokan Upgrade - For a unique insight into Japanese culture, choose to stay tonight in a Ryokan (at additional cost, must be pre-booked before departure). This traditional Japanese Inn has tatami mat flooring with futon beds, sliding shoji paper doors, onsen hot spring baths and private facilities, and includes dinner and breakfast.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

  9. Day 9 - Kyoto > Hiroshima

    Relax on the Shinkansen to Hiroshima and check into your hotel for two nights enjoying the views from your Deluxe Corner View rooms.

    Enrich

    Experience an emotional visit to the Peace Park and Museum, dedicated to the legacy of Hiroshima as the first city in the world to suffer a nuclear attack. Move to Orizuru Tower to learn how to create your own special origami crane offering for the Orizuru Wall.

    Tonight, sample Okonomiyaki, a delicious Japanese-style pancake, a specialty of the region.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  10. Day 10 - Hiroshima > Miyajima Island

    Sail by ferry to Miyajima Island to visit Daisho-in Temple and its famous floating Torii Gate at the Itsukushima Shrine, also built over the water.

    On return to the mainland, on your guided visit at the Mazda car factory, see the industrial robots at work on the cars on the production line.

    Note: Renovation works on Miyajima's famous floating torii gate started in June 2019. During the renovation works, the torii gate is covered up by scaffolding. It is not known yet exactly how long the renovations will take, but they are expected to take at least one year.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

  11. Day 11 - Hiroshima > Osaka

    Travel by Shinkansen to marvel at Himeji Castle, an original and Japan’s most spectacular castle and one of the few remaining original feudal castles, before continuing to Osaka. This evening, admire the 360 degree view of Osaka at night from the Floating Garden Observatory, 170m off the ground. Then settle in for a two night Special Stay.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  12. Day 12 - Osaka > Asuka

    Drive to the birthplace of the Japanese state and cradle of Japanese culture in Asuka, in Nara Prefecture. Wander through the Inabuchi terraced rice paddy fields, the ancient Tobiishi stone bridge, famous in Japanese folklore and visit Ishibutai tumulus, the largest known megalithic structure in Japan.

    Enrich

    Learn about the history, life and training routine of a sumo wrestler during a private visit to a Sumo Museum in Kehayaza, where Sumo originated. After the welcome ceremony, see a demonstration of Jinku and the wrestlers in action in the dohyo.

    Later stop at the timeless village of Tondabayashi. Visit a traditional Edo period house and wander around this splendid historical time capsule. This evening catch the Osaka Metro to wander around the lively entertainment area of Dotonbori and Hozenji Yokocho food alley, where you can have the opportunity to choose your own meal this evening from one of the many traditional food stalls.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

  13. Day 13 - Osaka

    Freechoice

    Wander through Shinsaibashi-suji shopping avenue, followed by Kuromon Ichiba Market, known as Osaka’s kitchen or visit the Museum of History and the rebuilt Osaka Castle.

    This afternoon is free for some final shopping before tonight’s farewell dinner.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

  14. Day 14 - Osaka > Seoul

    Bid farewell to Japan and transfer to Kensai airport for your flight to Seoul, South Korea. Upon arrival in Incheon, transfer to your hotel in Seoul for a four night stay located within walking distance to Gyeongbokgung Palace. Built originally in 1395 and often referred as the Northern Palace, it is the largest of the five palaces in Seoul. Meet your Korean Tour Director and fellow travellers at tonight’s welcome briefing and dinner comprising modern Korean cuisine.

    Meals Included: Breakfast

  15. Day 15 - Seoul

    Today is yours at leisure. Meet your Korean Tour Director and fellow travellers at tonight’s welcome briefing and dinner comprising modern Korean cuisine.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

  16. Day 16 - Seoul

    Begin your exploration of Seoul with a visit to arguably the most beautiful of the five Grand Joseon Palaces, Changdeokgung Palace.  Your visit to this World Heritage-listed palace would not be complete without a stroll through the Secret Garden contained within. This afternoon witness the changing of the Royal Guard at Deoksugung Palace before moving to the Korean Furniture Museum, housing over 2,000 pieces of Joseon Dynasty furniture in 10 restored traditional Korean houses known as hanok. Also located nearby is the Korean Stone Art Museum.

    Sundowners

    From the outdoor stone garden of the Korean Stone Art Museum, enjoy a panoramic view of Seoul at dusk with canapés and drinks and get to know your fellow travellers.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

  17. Day 17 - Seoul > DMZ

    Leave early this morning to drive to the De-militarised Zone (DMZ) for a morning of exploration, and views of North Korea. Visit the Dora Observatory, Dorasan Station and Freedom Bridge and go underground by monorail to the third infiltration Tunnel. Return to Seoul this afternoon and shop at the largest traditional market in South Korea, Namdaemun Market, located next to the Great South Gate of the original old city.

    Enrich

    Immerse yourself into the Korean culture at the Hyo Jae Cultural Hall where you can try on Hanbok, the traditional Korean dress, or try your hand at Bojagi, a traditional Korean wrapping cloth. Enjoy a meal of Bibimbap, a rice preparation with meat and vegetables, with your host Lee Hyo-Jae, known as Korea’s Martha Stuart.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  18. Day 18 - Seoul > Gwangju

    Relax in your Deluxe Class seats on the KTX high-speed train ride to Gwangju. Feel at peace on your walk through the Juknokwon bamboo forest before visiting Samjinae village to experience ‘slow living’ at the designated ‘Slow City’.  Try your hand at making Hangwa, Korean traditional sweets before returning to Gwangju to check into your hotel for a night at leisure.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

  19. Day 19 - Gwangju > Gyeongju

    Begin your drive to Mount Gayasan National Park.  Visit the Haeinsa Temple, famous for being the home of the Tripitaka Koreana since 1398, a collection of 81,350 wooden printing blocks with the Buddhist Scriptures carved on them. 

    Enrich

    This afternoon at Gayatgo Village, enjoy a hands on experience crafting your own mini Gayageum, a zither-like 12-string Korean musical instrument. It is yours to take home as a keepsake.

    Continue onto Gyeongju, known as the ‘museum without walls’ and check into your hotel for a two night stay.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  20. Day 20 - Gyeongju

    Begin our drive to Busan with a stop en route at Tongdosa, one of the most important temples in Korea and the head temple of the Jogye Order.

    Freechoice

    Visit the Gamcheon Culture Village, once a modest mountainside community that has been transformed into an art hotspot, or ride the Danubi ‘Train’ around Taejongdae Park Rocky Cliff, famous for its seascapes. Alternatively, visit Haedong Yonggungsa Temple, a Buddhist temple built in 1376.

    Check into your hotel on the beachfront for a two night stay.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

  21. Day 21 - Gyeongju > Busan

    Begin our drive to Busan with a stop en route at Tongdosa, one of the most important temples in Korea and the head temple of the Jogye Order.

    Freechoice

    Visit the Gamcheon Culture Village, once a modest mountainside community that has been transformed into an art hotspot, or ride the Danubi ‘Train’ around Taejongdae Park Rocky Cliff, famous for its seascapes. Alternatively, visit Haedong Yonggungsa Temple, a Buddhist temple built in 1376.

    Check into your hotel on the beachfront for a two night stay.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

  22. Day 22 - Busan > Jinhae

    From Busan Tower, admire the views of the coastline and the port city before moving to Jagalchi Fish Market, the largest in South Korea. Next, visit BIFF Square and nearby Kukje Market, known for its Mokja Golmok – Let’s Eat Alley. This afternoon, drive to Jinhae and visit Jinhae Dream Park with the famous Yeojwacheon Stream. Also visit the NFRDI Environment Eco-Park and Jangboksan Sculpture Park to see the red and orange foliage in autumn and delicate blossoms in spring.

    Freechoice

    Enjoy fine Italian cuisine at the converted art gallery, Kitchen Dongbaek or sample high quality Korean sirloin BBQ at Daedo Korean restaurant.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

  23. Day 23 - Busan > Seoul

    Travel in your Deluxe Class seats on the KTX high-speed train to Seoul. Upon arrival, drive to the Gangnam District to have your photo taken in front of the Statue of Gangnam Style. Spend some free time at the COEX underground shopping mall, the largest in Asia. Later, check into your hotel before savouring your sumptuous Korean Bulgogi BBQ feast as your farewell dinner.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

  24. Day 24 - Seoul

    Say farewell to this intriguing land and transfer to Incheon airport for your onward journey.

    The itinerary is a guide only and may be amended for operational reasons. As such Scenic cannot guarantee the tour will operate unaltered from the itinerary stated above. Please refer to our terms and conditions for further information.

    Meals Included: Breakfast

Tour inclusions

The Scenic Difference
  • View a private sumo wrestler demonstration in Kehayaza
  • Private group dinner hosted by a Geisha/Maiko in Kyoto
  • Hanbok, Bojagi and Bibimbap cultural experiences
  • Craft a mini Gayageum, a Korean musical instrument
  • Make traditional Korean confectionery in Samjinae village
  • Visit Jinhae during the cherry blossom season

5-star luxury inclusions
  • The intimacy of small group touring with a maximum of
  • 24 guests
  • 6 exclusive Scenic Enrich experiences
  • Your choice of 15 Scenic Freechoice activities and dining
  • 1 Scenic Sundowners event
  • 2 memorable Scenic Special Stays
  • 53 meals – 23 breakfasts (B), 16 lunches (L) and 14 dinners (D)
  • Expert Tour Directors
  • All internal transport
  • Return airport transfers

Pricing & Availability